Chapter 7 - Google Apps for Educators
by Dan Le
As an educator, do you want to improve student engagement in your classroom? Are you looking for ways to develop and hone 21st Century skills, such as communication, collaboration, and creativity, in your students (P21, 2011)? Do you want to incorporate more technology into your classroom at a free expense and with file storage capabilities? Are you looking for ways to find and organize your lessons more efficiently?

If the answers to these questions are "yes," Google provides several online apps and tools for the classroom that are free of charge. Google is not just a search engine, it is a calculator, translator, measurement converter, and much more. The apps and tools that will be discussed in this chapter include Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google's Search, which can all be used for the benefit of students and teachers. Google Docs is ideal for increasing students' communication, collaboration, and creativity as well as for organizing and storing files. Google Search and Google Forms aid in research in terms of finding resources and organizing data. Google Sites allows teachers to develop pages to communicate with their students and allows students to be creative and communicate their understanding of the content. The video to the right gives an overview of Google Apps.

To access Google Apps, users just need to register an e-mail address with Google, and it does not have to be a Gmail account. Another beneficial feature is that all files created using Google Apps are stored online, or in the "cloud." This means that anyone can access their own files from any computer with Internet connection without using flash drives or sending e-mail attachments. This will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

Several post-secondary schools, including Utah State, Hofstra, and Vanderbilt use Google Apps for communication and collaboration purposes. In addition, several K-12 schools are also using Google Apps. New York City Intermediate 339 and Maine Township High School District in Park Ridge, Illinois, are some examples (Google, 2011). The video to the left is a testimony from Saline Area Schools in Saline, Michigan, about how they use Google Apps in their district and the benefits of doing so.

This chapter will go into more detail about certain Google Apps, which will include screenshots. There will also be a discussion on how Google Apps can be implemented in schools with some examples of actual teacher and student work. As with other new strategies and teaching tools, there may be some challenges in implementing Google Apps as the demographics and technological logistics are different for each school, but this chapter will address some of the challenges and discuss some potential solutions.


Next: Google Docs

Google Docs
Google Forms
Google Sites
Sample Sites
Google Search
Advanced Search